APA In-text Citations

APA in-text citations use an author-date system. If the author’s name is a part of the text, it is immediately followed by the date in parentheses. The page number comes at the end of the citation, in parentheses. If the author is not named in the text, include the author’s name, the date and the page numbers in parentheses at the end of the cited material. This is known as a parenthetical reference.

If you are paraphrasing, simply add the author and date. Though APA encourages you to include a page number when paraphrasing, it is not required.

The in-text citation gives just enough details to point your reader to the source of information found in your list of references. For a sample paper in APA style visit the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.


One author

Indicate the author’s last name, the year of publication and the page number(s). Note that you are not required to include page numbers when you are paraphrasing. The author may be mentioned in the text or within the parentheses at the end of the cited material.


Levan (2012) explains that “violence is not condemned, and is often revered among inmates” (p. 63).

The prison environment is organized as a heirarchy where inmates have different roles depending on where they find themselves within this structure (Levan, 2012).

Two authors

Indicate both last names, the date and the page number. When using a parenthetical reference at the end of the cited material, separate the authors’ names by an ampersand (&).


Knudtson and Suzuki (1992) were concerned with the authenticity of native sources used in their research (p. 23).


Anthropological research has provided “ecologically insightful accounts of native views of the natural world” (Knudtson & Suzuki, 1992, p. 23).

Three to five authors

The first time you cite the work, indicate all of the authors’ last names. If the authors are included in the text separate the last two names with the word “and.” When using a parenthetical reference, separate the last two authors’ names by an ampersand (&).


Esbensen, Peterson, Taylor, and Freng (2010) looked into the causes and treatments of youth violence.

This analysis of youth violence concluded that “girls commit a substantial amount of violence” (Esbensen, Peterson, Taylor, & Freng, 2010).

In subsequent citations use the first author followed by “et al.” and the year. The name and date may be mentioned in the text or in the parenthetical reference.


Esbensen et al., (2010) found that “boys were more likely than girls to have been victimized by violence” (p. 103).

Six or more authors

Indicate only the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.” and the year. The name and date may be mentioned in the text or within the parentheses at the end of the cited material.


Peavy, et al. (2012) surveyed drug users at five syringe exchange sites in King County, Washington.


Drug users from five syringe exchange sites were surveyed (Peavy, et al., 2012).

Organization as author

Indicate the name of the group, corporation or organization in the text or in parentheses at the end of the cited material.


The report put out by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (2011) confirmed  “that the aging of Canada’s population will likely put pressure on the health care system to adapt to meet Canadians’ needs” (p. 128).


The report confirmed “that the aging of Canada’s population will likely put pressure on the health care system to adapt to meet Canadians’ needs” (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2011, p. 128).

If the organization has a familiar abbreviation, include the abbreviation in square brackets the first time it is cited and use just the abbreviation in further citations from the same organization.


First citation

 (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [CAMH], 2003)

Second citation

(CAMH, 2003)

No author

Include the title in your in-text citation or if the title is long, include the first couple of words of the title. The title of an article, a chapter or a web page is put in quotation marks; the title of a book or a report is italicized.


The city of Calgary has made large tracts of land available for development (“Regional,” 1993).

No date

Use n.d. where you would normally place the year.

No page numbers

Many online sources don’t have page numbers. In this case, use a paragraph number if it is provided or count the number of paragraphs from the beginning of the text and include them in the parentheses: (Smith, 2009, para. 23). If the document has headings but no paragraph numbers, include the heading and the number of paragraphs down from the heading.


Cummings (2012) concluded that “melatonin treatment for certain sleep problems in children and adolescents can be useful” (Conclusion, para. 1).

Whole work

This may be a book, a journal article, a website or other long work. Simply include the author’s name and date. Do not include page numbers.


In Wisdom of the Elders, Knudtson and Suzuki (1992) show parallels of the close kinship of native peoples around the world to their natural environment.

The success of immigrant integration has been studied in Australia (Collins, 2013).

When citing an entire website, without making reference to a specific idea or text, include the electronic address in your text.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website (http://www.camh.net) reflects the amalgamation of the Addiction Research Foundation and The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Personal communications

Personal communications (email, private letters, personal interviews, memos, etc.) are not included in the reference list. This type of source is included only in your text.

Give the author’s initals and last name as well as an exact a date as possible.


One of his colleagues admitted that the research was creating a lot of discussion (J. Doyle, personal communication, May 15, 2008).

Indented quotations (block quotations)

If you are using a quotation of 40 words or longer, start it on a new line, indented about 1.25 cm from the main margin, and double-spaced. At the end of the quote add a space and then insert the parenthetical reference. Note that the parentheses come after the concluding punctuation.


The researchers found that:

As long as programs target the known risk factors and

adhere to the principles of effective intervention, youths

should be affected in positive ways. Importantly, addressing

even a few risk factors can have modest effects for youths

who experience multiple risk factors in multiple domains.

(Esbensen, Peterson, Taylor, & Freng, 2010, p. 190)

Indirect source

If you are using a work that was cited in another source (secondary source), name the original work in your text and cite the secondary source in the parenthetical reference beginning with “as cited in.”

Your list of references would include an entry for the source you consulted: in this case the book by Knudston and Susuki.


French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss refers to the world of the shaman and the scientist as “two parallel modes of acquiring knowledge about the universe” (as cited in Knudtson & Suzuki, 1992, pp. 8-9).

The examples found in the APA section are based on the style guide Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., 2010 and the APA Style Guide to Electronic References, 6th ed., 2012.
Tip: For more examples visit the OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University or ask for help at the library reference desk.